What happens when I loan my car to someone? Is that person covered by my policy? Am I still covered?
Yes. Liability and coverage for physical damage (i.e., comprehensive and collision) always follow your car. So, if a friend borrows your car and has an accident, you're still protected against the cost of damages or injuries. Plus, if the driver of your car is insured, his/her policy will also be available to cover the cost of damages and injuries.
The same rules apply when you borrow someone else's vehicle. Your own insurance follows you no matter whose car you are driving. But the vehicle owner's policy is the key coverage if you have an accident.
How does where I live affect my premium?
Where you live (or, more precisely, where you keep your car) has a bearing on your chances of having an accident or becoming a victim of theft or vandalism. That's why a vehicle owner in Brooklyn, New York, pays a higher rate than the owner of an identical vehicle in Casper, Wyoming.
Other factors affecting regional insurance rates include time and efficiency of police response and law enforcement, local road and traffic conditions and the quality of local medical services. Insurers even factor in the litigation rates in a given area, that is, how many lawsuits are filed, go to trial, are settled out of court and for how much.
Why are rates different for different cars, even if the cars cost the same?
Vehicles are also grouped into categories according to their likelihood of being damaged, vandalized or stolen. Insurers generally consider the size and type of vehicle, as well as the value and the cost of repairs (which can vary greatly, even on vehicles that cost roughly the same). Thus, a new station wagon is expected to hold up better in an accident than a sports car or a subcompact.
Putting insurance aside, safety is key when buying an automobile. Your life depends on it! Some cars are considered safer than others because of their performance record in safety tests and real accidents.
That's why you should research insurance coverage before you buy your car. It helps you to understand the actual cost and indicates those vehicles with good safety records. Your insurer will ultimately reward you for putting safety first.
What is "no-fault" insurance?
No-fault insurance is a system adopted in some states that essentially bypasses the conventional legal procedure which finds fault in an accident. (This is the procedure by which you hire a lawyer, file suit and possibly go to court to prove the accident was the other guy's fault.) No-fault simply does away with the concept of one party or the other being at fault. There are no lawyers, no court, no judge, no jury, no lengthy lawsuits against the other party. This is considered beneficial to taxpayers, because it eliminates costly legal proceedings that the state must manage, and to insurance policyholders, because it helps keep rates down.
If you are insured in a no-fault state and have an accident, you don't go after the other driver. You contact your own insurer and file a claim. Your own insurance policy guarantees you immediate compensation for damages, medical expenses, lost wages, etc.
The type and range of no-fault coverage varies by state. What defines the limitations of no-fault policies can differ in two critical areas:
Threshold - The type of damage/injury or the cost of repair/recovery that triggers the need for legal action.
Mandated Benefit Level - The package of benefits (medical, wage loss, replacement services and other expenses) your state requires you to carry.
What happens if I have an accident with an uninsured driver?
First, call the police to the scene to be sure all pertinent information is properly recorded. Your nerves will be shaken right after an accident, and it helps to have a calm and knowledgeable person walking you through the necessary details.
Then, contact Carroll Steele Insurance agent immediately and ask about filing a claim. If you followed all the recommended guidelines when you bought your policy, you should be covered within the limitations of that policy. Remember, your insurance policy is designed to protect you.
If the cost of your damages or injuries exceed the amount your policy will pay out, it may be time to take legal action against the other party. Even if you have no-fault insurance
, sometimes the only way to be compensated is to place blame and responsibility where it belongs.
Do I always need to buy insurance when I rent a car? Am I not covered by my own policy?
If you have fully insured your own vehicle, including collision and comprehensive coverage, and rent a vehicle for pleasure only (while on vacation, for example), you do not need to buy extra insurance from the rental company. In fact, in most states your basic rental fee by law will include liability coverage for damage or injury to others. But different rules apply when you rent a car for business purposes, so check with a Carroll Steele Insurance Specialist for details.
If you do not have your own insurance, be aware that many car rental liability policies cover you only at the state's required minimum. Also, you should buy the collision and comprehensive coverage offered by the rental company for your own protection. Plus, do not buy a collision damage waiver (CDW) from the rental company assuming it is insurance. A CDW simply releases you from financial responsibility if you damage the vehicle you are renting, provided you comply with the terms of the rental contract. But those terms can vary considerably, and CDWs are not state-regulated, which means they are technically not insurance.
It's always a good idea to review your policy before renting a vehicle and, if necessary, contact a Carroll Steele Insurance Specialist for clarification.
Do I need special insurance for a classic car?
Give us a call about coverage of rare and valuable property. Since a classic car usually cannot be replaced, you'll probably want ample compensation if it is lost. A classic car, because it is rare or unique, may indeed require a special insurance policy.
How does where I live affect my premium?
Where you live (or, more precisely, where you keep your car) has a bearing on your chances of having an accident or becoming a victim of theft or vandalism. That's why a vehicle owner in Brooklyn, New York, pays a higher rate than the owner of an identical vehicle in Casper, Wyoming. Other factors affecting regional insurance rates include time and efficiency of police response and law enforcement, local road and traffic conditions and the quality of local medical services. Insurers even factor in the litigation rates in a given area, that is, how many lawsuits are filed, go to trial, are settled out of court and for how much.
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